March 23, 2015
TORONTO— Gord Dineen has found his go-to guy in net as the Marlies battle it out for a spot in the post-season.
Dineen spent the majority of this season rotating his young goaltenders Antoine Bibeau and Christopher Gibson. That’s changed, however, as Gibson was selected to start each of the past three games— including back-to-back contests on Friday and Saturday.
“I think they’ve both played quality hockey for us but as of late Chris has been hotter and his won-loss record has been better than Beebs,” said the Marlies head coach.
“We’re riding him for the moment. Not to say Antoine’s a guy we won’t rely on, but for right now we’re just going with Gibby.”
In early February the two netminders shared almost identical numbers.
Through 44 games, 20-year-old Bibeau, who was selected 172nd overall by Toronto in 2013, had started 19 games and had a 2.52 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. Meanwhile, in 23 starts, the 22-year old Gibson had posted a 2.54 goals-against average and an identical save percentage.
Since then, though, much has changed for Toronto— including the chance of making the playoffs, which Gibson is being relied on to help with.
In his past 12 starts, Gibson has gone 10-2-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.
Bibeau has only won two of his past 10 starts dating back to January and his numbers have drastically declined.
The Victoriaville, Que. native has put up just an .888 save percentage with his goals-against average hovering close to four per-game. On March 14 against Adirondack, Bibeau had his worst performance of the year and allowed three goals on six shots in eight minutes of action, which led to Dineen pulling a starting goalie for the first time this season.
Bibeau hasn’t started a game since, as Gibson has been called upon for each of the last three.
Despite Gibson getting continuous nods in net, Dineen wouldn’t go as far as calling him the team’s No. 1.
“I wouldnt classify him as our number 1,” said Dineen.
Toronto has 13 regular-season games remaining and is just one point out of the final playoff spot in the West. Bibeau will most likely still see some action, but ultimately the net has become Gibsons’ to lose.
Gibson, who becomes a restricted free agent after this season, is 19-14-3 with a 2.35 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in 36 games this season. In 26 contests Bibeau has gone 10-10-5 with a 2.81 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.
The Marlies host the Oklahoma City Barons Wednesday.